Daniel found Thomas stood gazing out of his study window, though quite how his brother could see anything out of the colourful stained glass he wasn’t sure. “I missed you at breakfast” he commented, standing behind him and resting his hand on his shoulder and giving it a comforting squeeze.
“Eh!” Thomas nodded seeming to come around from where ever his thoughts had taken him.
“I missed you at breakfast?” Daniel repeated.
“I wasn’t hungry” Thomas muttered “I had things to do”
“Yes I can see that” the younger man nodded looking around the chamber that the paperwork stacked on the desk in untouched heaps.
“I suppose you’ve heard?” Thomas sighed heavily.
“About Ailana? Yes I’ve heard” Daniel nodded.
Thomas grunted again, turning slowly to face his brother “I suppose you have an opinion on the matter as well, everyone seems too”
Daniel shrugged “Not especially, it’s not my place”
“It’s surprising how slowly time passes when you’re waiting for news like this” Thomas managed to smile.
Daniel cocked his head unsure to what his brother was referring.
“Ascertaining if the girl is truly with child”
“Oh” Daniel nodded, suddenly understanding. Sophie had told him of her sister’s condition so to Daniel it had not even occurred that for some it was still a question with more than one possible outcome. “Sophie is pretty sure” he suggested “And if I’ve learnt one thing of my wife it is that she is rarely wrong”
Thomas nodded, not so much in agreement but it seemed to Daniel his brother was slowly becoming resigned to the idea that willingly or not he was soon to become a father for a second time.
“Are you going to marry her?” he asked.
Thomas nodded sadly “I guess I’ll have to”
“You don’t have to do anything” Daniel corrected.
“It’s the right thing to do, if there is one thing I have learned it’s that action’s have consequences. I could abandon the girl and her child but what would become of her?”
“Why does it matter?”
“It matter’s to me” Thomas replied “This isn’t her fault, she was dragged into this mess by the meddling of men and their political agenda’s. She was an innocent victim of her brothers scheming but I should have known better”
“By marrying the girl you’ll be playing right into their hands?” He protested unable to see his brother’s logic.
“And for that she should be punished?” Thomas replied “Still it only play’s into their hands if they gain from the deal.. Marriages are supposed to strengthen politic ties between families; this one shall do quite the opposite.”
“You’d have your self lumbered with a woman and child simply because you feel sorry for her?”
“I’ve made my decision” Thomas replied firmly with as much conviction as Daniel had seen him muster in quite some time.
“But what of Holly?” Daniel protested.
“What of her?” Thomas snapped, the subject still raw “She left, she ran away from the problems instead of facing them.. I can do nothing about that now she made her decision”
“But you still love her?”
“Yes I do and that is exactly why it makes no difference” Thomas retorted “This girl or the next I’ll love none so why does it matter which I marry?”
“Then why marry any at all?”
“Because it’s what the people expect” Thomas replied sternly “The people need to feel the kingdom is stable they need to feel their king is stable. They want to know the royal line is secure, and so they expect me to marry and have children. It’s what our father was trying to tell me all along but I could never see it before”
“But what of your own happiness?”
“Who say’s I shant be happy? Surely there is a certain satisfaction in being the King that people need?”
“I’m not sure it’s quite the same?” Daniel argued not at all convinced that Thomas had convinced himself of the fact never mind anyone else.
“You worry for me little brother?” Thomas asked apparently touched by his concern.
“Of course, you’re my brother” Daniel smiled.
“Well don’t. I know what I’m doing” He replied “She’s not a bad girl I don’t suppose”
“You barely know her”
“Many men barely know their wives before marriage” he smiled “Besides if she carrying my child what more is there to know?”